Imagine discovering that the surgical team about to remove your innards could muster only a single year of clinical experience between them. Would you sniff that ether? I think not. Although the heads of 10 of London's top fund management groups can muster an impressive 249 years of combined business experience among them, only one of those years was actually spent in anything vaguely resembling industry: that lone, fleeting time in which Prudential Portfolio Managers Hugh Jenkins was employed by Gerald Ronson's Heron Corporation. Apart from this temporary lapse, Jenkins's curriculum vitae is laudably unindustrial, including 23 years with the Coal Board Pension Fund and three more with Allied Dubar. To keep his eye in with the shop floor, the man from Pru plays golf, and is a member of the Garrick. Nonetheless, Jenkins's provenance seems positively horny-handed when compared with those of his fellows. Barclays de Zoete Wedd Investment Donald Brydon, for example, taught economics at Edinburgh University before entering the rough-and-tumble of the City, while Scottish Widows Robin Garrow is similarly fresh from groves of academe. Legal and General David Rough is, his surname notwithstanding, an ex-equity dealer, while Baring International's John Bolsover is a Boodle's man and Norwich Union's Michael Sandland keen bridge player. Between them, these Olympians of the British fund management world control investments worth roughly £240 billion, the majority of them in industrial companies for which their approval or its lack can mean the difference between commercial life and death. Yet none of these fund management chiefs seems likely to be able to recognise a widget were it to fall into their potage Crecy. Think about it.
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